Mo. AG takes on dog breeder

Bryan Cohen Aug. 5, 2011, 1:56am


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced a consent judgment on Friday against the owner of a Lawrence County, Mo., breeding facility for alleged Animal Care Facilities Act violations.

Shirley Gilbert owned Wolfgang's Puppies and Gee Gee's Yorkies, a commercial breeder facility located in Aurora, Mo. Koster alleged that Gilbert made multiple violations of the Animal Care Facilities Act, including operating her breeding facility without a license, failing to provide adequate ventilation and odor control, failing to provide clean, dry bedding and wind and rain breaks to protect dogs from the elements, failing to provide adequate veterinary care to animals that were in obvious medical distress, failing to clean and sanitize the facility or to provide adequate space for dogs, failing to collect and remove animal waste, and failing to provide housing that protected the animals from injury.

To comply with the terms of the judgment, the defendant transferred all of the dogs at her breeding facility to the Humane Society of Missouri for veterinary evaluation and rehabilitation prior to adoption. In addition, Gilbert agreed to shut down her business for a period of six years.

The judgment orders Gilbert to pay a $500 civil penalty, $1,000 in attorneys' fees and costs and $200 in restitution to consumers who were harmed by misrepresentations Gilbert made regarding her status as a state licensed dog breeding facility. The court also assessed penalties should Gilbert violate the Animal Care Facilities Act during the six-year probation period.

In cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, Koster said he has made cracking down on illegal dog breeders and sellers a priority in his office.

"As attorney general, one of my singular goals is to clean up Missouri's reputation with regard to 'puppy mills,'" Koster said. "We want Missouri to be known as a state that raises animals in a humane environment and offers dogs from well-operated kennels to buyers across the country."

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